This was the first time I'd headed to the Spring Picnic, and after walking around most of Centennial Park, Saffron and I finally found the elusive Brazillian Fields (a site which doesn't exist on any of the park's onsite maps, please note, GFM organisers!).
We were there at 11.00am as the event started, which gave us plenty of time (and space!) to see the goodies on offer.
After our tantalising mouthfuls of green papaya salad at the Night Noodle Markets last Thursday, the Spice I Am stall immediately caught our attention.
We couldn't resist the allure of freshly pounded green papaya salad and the friendly folk were terribly gracious about our incessant camera-clicking.
Pounding shredded green papaya with dried shrimp,
garlic, chilli, beans, soy and palm sugar
With our salads in hand, we explored the rest of the stalls...
Live eels (the stall was selling smoked eel and mussels)
Pissaladiere (anchovy and olive pizza) from Tabou.
This looked really really good.
Cooking parathas at Qmin
Curtain of smallgoods at Eumundi Smokehouse
Breads from the delightful Beb Patisserie
We shared a lunch (double the variety) which included:
Piadina (a traditional Italian bread) filled with
ricotta, rocket and walnuts $8.00
The piadina was rolled out and filled before being cooked both sides on a grill. I found the bread a little doughy but the ricotta, rocket and walnut combo was pretty de-lish.
Paratha filled with lamb mince
and served with raita $5.00
Tasty and delicious. Shame that the gusty wind meant we lost a quarter of this!
Green papaya salad with fried chicken $9.00
Yum! I am in love with green papaya salad! This was particularly zingy without the sogginess of pre-prepared salads. I picked up a yellow bean and popped it into my mouth and realised all too late that it was a chilli--the second hottest in the world, the friendly Spice I Am chef had boasted.
On Fire I Am! As I felt my throat begin to prickle, I had to mentally reassure myself that no, my throat was not swelling up, my lungs would not lose access to fresh air, and no, I was not going to die that very minute.
Deep breaths, arms flailing, eyes widened as I repeated my mantra over and over again. Water, raita and eventually peanuts helped the pain pass. The tongue was still on fire but thankfully the throat had stopped its panic attack.
The salad was hot though. I thought I could handle a fair bit of heat, but apparently not. I still love the stuff.
By 1.00pm the place was overflowing with happy picnic-ers. Kids, couples, families, foodies... everyone was here soaking up the sun on a rug with a bottle of wine.
There was talks and demonstrations happening on-stage...
Matthew Kemp (from Restaurant Balzac) with Joanna Savill
but the call for sugar was much stronger.
Jam donut $1.20
Saffron took much delight in this jam donut of perfection. Despite her attempts to convert me, I remain unswayed by the allure of the jam donut. I don't like any filled donut. Pineapple glazed remain my only donut weakness. I'm calorifically grateful I am able to resist at least one type of sugary treat.
Zuccherati cannoli from Formagi Ocello $4.00
This on the other hand, was most delightful. I've been guilty of staring at these things every time I head to Pyrmont Growers Market. I've always resisted but not today.
And boy was it good. The cannoli was like a sugared donut but much lighter and not oily at all. The light ricotta filling had a hint of alcohol (we're presuming marsala) and after divvying up the thing into two, it was gobbled down in a thrice.
Ice cream flavours from Asia's Own
After sitting around for another hour (and bumping into Pinkcocoa and Shin-Chan and comparing notes) we had a need for an ice cream conclusion.
Banana fritter $1.50
Somehow a banana fritter leapt into our ice cream purchase. The fritter was Filipino-style, rolled in spring roll pastry and deep-fried, rather than coated in a thick batter.
Nangkasuy (jackfruit and cashew ice cream) and
vanilla chai tea ice cream with pistachio $3.50
I had the jackfruit ice cream which was delicious. Small bits of jackfruit and cashew were interspersed throughout, providing refreshment for the parched palate. Of course a scoop of chai ice cream had to be sampled for research purposes. The chai was warm and comforting, but I was happy with my choice which suited me better in the hot summery sun.
We heard Joanna apologising later that some of the stalls were running out of food--the queues were still horrendous at 3pm.
I picked up an orange syrup semolina cake from Beb on our way home--it was dense and citrusy, and demolished with corresponding appreciation.
Fab day out, even though I did get sunburnt. A small price to pay for a happy belly and a fond memory of a damn good papaya salad.
The Spring Picnic is held annually as part of the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Month.
This year's Spring Picnic was held on Sunday 9 October in the Brazillian Fields at Centennial Park.
Related GrabYourFork posts:
GFM 2007: Sugar Hit #2 at the Sofitel Wentworth
GFM 2007: Sugar Hit #1 at the InterContinental Sydney
GFM 2006: Good Living Growers' Markets
GFM 2006: Hats Off dinner at Becasse
GFM 2006: Night Noodle Markets Week 3
GFM 2006: Night Noodle Markets Week 2
GFM 2006: Night Noodle Markets Week 1
GFM 2006: Spring Picnic
GFM 2006: Sugar Hit #4 at the Sofitel Wentworth
GFM 2006: Sugar Hit #3 at the Intercontinental Sydney
GFM 2006: Sugar Hit #2 at the Four Seasons Hotel Sydney
GFM 2006: Sugar Hit #1 at the Park Hyatt Sydney
GFM 2006: Sydney Food & Wine Fair
GFM 2005: Good Living Growers' Markets
GFM 2005: Night Noodle Markets
GFM 2005: Spring Picnic
GFM 2005: Sydney Farmers' Market
GFM 2005: Sydney Food & Wine Fair
GFM 2004: Twilight Trail: Cocktails and Sugar Hits
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10/11/2005 11:59:00 pm